CHARLESTON, W.Va. — “Hold up” is what the chair of the West Virginia Republican Party is saying ahead of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) scheduled meeting Friday in New York City with President-elect Donald Trump.
When it comes to the next energy secretary, “Our concern is with energy policy. We need a true conservative,” and Conrad Lucas, the GOP party chairman, on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
In his view, Manchin is not that.
The West Virginia GOP released a statement following the “Talkline” appearance from Lucas.
“While Republicans in West Virginia appreciate President-elect Donald Trump’s desire for a diverse cabinet and his understanding of the need for bipartisanship, we in the strongest possible terms encourage him to choose a true conservative who has never sold out our energy industries and working families to the Obama-Clinton Team,” that statement said.
Manchin backed former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, in this year’s presidential election.
In West Virginia, nearly 67 percent of voters in the Nov. 8 general election supported Trump.
In 2009, as West Virginia’s governor, Manchin supported the Alternative and Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. The legislation was designed to lower emissions from coal-fired power plants by requiring utilities to generate increasing amounts of electricity using alternative fuels.
The law was repealed in 2015 soon after Republicans took control of both the state Senate and state House of Delegates.
Lucas referred to it as a “cap and trade” law and the “cornerstone” of Manchin’s time as governor.
“Obviously, those of us who support the coal industry have a lot of concerns with Joe Manchin because he will be implementing a national energy policy and we know that we stand adamantly opposed to cap and trade,” he said.
He noted, “We’re adamantly opposed to liberals being in the Trump Administration and that’s certainly what Joe Manchin is.”
On Monday, Manchin confirmed he had spoken by phone with Trump and a meeting was planned for later this week.
“I was humbled and honored to share my views with the President-elect and assured him that I am willing to work in a bipartisan manner to find commonsense solutions to the serious challenges we face,” Manchin said at that time.
If he’s not tapped for a new role in Washington, Manchin is up for re-election in 2018.
“This is not a state of Joe Manchin anymore. It’s not a state of a modern Democrat,” Lucas said.
In the 2018 U.S. Senate race, “We’re confident we’re going to win no matter who the nominee is. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of bones to pick with Joe Manchin for a while and that’s not a fight we would ever back down from.”
According to Trump’s schedule, the President-elect was scheduled to meet with Manchin at NYC’s Trump Tower on Friday morning before going to Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a 12 p.m. rally on behalf of John Kennedy, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate.
On Friday night, Trump takes his “Thank You Tour” to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a rally at the Deltaplex Arena.
“We implore President-Elect Trump to Make West Virginia and America great again without Joe Manchin as a member of this administration,” the state Republican Party’s statement about Manchin read.